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Author Topic: Slave-owners having children with their slaves  (Read 20595 times)

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Offline marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« on: January 28, 2006, 09:13:35 AM »
I posted this on one of the pelt threads on the general discussion forum just yesterday evening, and it's already about to slip off of the front page, so I thought I'd post it here also.

In a previous post I referenced comments about how masters having children with their slaves was extremely common.  The comments were from An Imperfect God:  George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek. What I was thinking of turned out to be a whole section rather than a quote.  But here's a quote from this book by Mary Chestnut, the famous southern diarist quoted in so much Civil War literature:

Quote
 
God forgive us, but ours is a monstrous system, a wrong and iniquity.  Like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives and their concubines; and the mulattoes one sees in every family partly resemble the white children.  Any lady is ready to tell you who is the father of all the mulatto children in everybody's household but her own.  Those, she seems to think, drop from the clouds....A magnate who runs a hideous black harem with its consequences under the same roof with his lovely white wife, and his beautiful and accomplished daughters?  He holds his head as high and poses as a model of all human virtues to these poor women whom God and laws have given him.


This is from a woman who was unabashedly a southerner and a Confederate.

btw, Wiencek concludes that Washington did not participate in this custom, but Martha Washington's half sister lived at Mount Vernon as a house slave, and another slave, West Ford (who has been rumored to have been Washington's son) was likely the son of Washington's brother or, more likely,nephew.

And, as I mentioned on the other thread, Sally Hemmings, who had children with Jefferson, was his late wife's half sister.

When I first heard the suggestion that this was why American blacks were lighter than Africans in the seventies from Alex Haley, I was skeptical.  I didn't think it could possibly be that common.  Now, though, I'm seeing evidence that this was likely the case.[/color]

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« on: January 28, 2006, 09:13:35 AM »

Offline Bon Voyage

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 09:41:49 AM »
So that means that the true Jews were having children with the offspring of Edom?

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 09:41:49 AM »

Offline Mere Nick

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 10:38:25 AM »
A slave owner getting nekkid with slaves makes me wonder what they were thinking.  Either they figured their slaves were fully human and their minds were seared such that they would do such a thing (i.e., rape, adultery, fornication), or they thought their slaves were somewhat less than human and to the measure that they were considered less than human is at least some of the measure of their practice of beastiality.

I guess it just means temptation won't walk away just because you have a "Great Man" t-shirt.  King David would probably say "Mmm hmm".

Offline marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 11:29:37 AM »
There's more in the chapter than I can, or in some casese care to, type here. Wiencek says that sexual abuse of slave women was considered a "sport" by some, and that northern visitors would often come down to the plantations to partake.

I think that a lot of this is an indication that blacks were dehumanized by white society, both in the north and the south (there's plenty of Civil War era quotes out there showing that most northerners didn't consider blacks equal to whites.)  You see the same thing happening still, and this is why rape is so common in wartime.  See what's been happening in Africa, for instance.

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 11:29:37 AM »

Offline Mere Nick

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 12:08:11 PM »
Rape common in wartime?  Yes.  Islam teaches the Muslims to be at war with all of mankind until we are all Muslim, dead, or dhimmis.  Look at the stats of who's doing the raping in Europe and all the other places Muslims are on the rampage.

I've also read reports about men traveling to certain other third world countries because children are freely available for such sport.

This world sometimes looks like it's fallen and not the way it was intended.  Mmm hmm.

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 12:08:11 PM »



Offline malachi12

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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2006, 01:23:35 PM »
Edom is crazy
Mal 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob
Mal 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Offline Lee Freeman

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2006, 04:12:45 PM »
As a historian and genealogist I can say that Mulatto slave children were extremely common. White slaveowners often fathered childred by their slave women. My own county of Lauderdale had dozens of blacks with one white (sometimes Native American-members of the Five Civilized tribes also often owned slaves) ancestor. James Thomas Rapier (1836-1883), a black congressman from my own Florence, Alabama, was the grandson of a slave woman named Sally Thomas and her white master. Many members of the Rapier and Thomas families are to this day light-skinned. James' father, John H.Rapier, Sr., was freed by his master, Richard Rapier, upon Rapier's death in 1826. His first wife Susan (James T's mother), a free woman of color, died in 1840 and John's second wife was his housekeeper (hired after Susan died to care for his children), a slave woman named Lucretia. Though John, a successful and respected local barber, was free, his second wife Lucretia was tecnically still a slave (he did not treat her as a slave). Under the law, children received the status of their mother, hence Lucretia's children were also considered slaves.

Alabama law (other states also had such laws on the books), said that any slave given his freedom had to leave the state or face imprisonment or re-enslavement-yet few places in Alabama actually enforced this law; Florence didn't. By 1827 Florence had a community of approx. forty free people of color. Both before and after the war, these free blacks were respected and treated fairly, as much as was possible under segregation. Race relations here in Lauderdale were much better than in other places, like Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery. In Lauderdale there seems to have been a genuine feeling of respect and goodwill despite the existence of racism and segregation. It sounds paradoxical but it's true.

When thinking of slavery we tend to see only the negative aspects-and they certainly existed, no doubt about it, so what I'm saying below is in no way designed to downplay, ignore, or make light of that. That being, said, the harsher aspects of slavery varied from region to region, state to state, county to county. Slavery truly was a "peculiar institution," in more ways than one. Nothing demonstrates this fact as readily as does the existence of black slave-owners. Yes, its true many free African-Americans, in an effort to emulate upper-class white society, owned their own plantations with slaves. Sometimes they bought relatives and freed them, but just as often these free people of color as they were called, viewed owning slaves as a status symbol. There were communities of slave-owning blacks in Virginia, Louisiana, and especially in outh Carolina. Hitorian Larry Koger has documented free black slaveowners in South Carolina, in his book Black Slaveowners of South Carolina.

Many slaves who served as house and/or body servants were considered as family, often referred to affectionately and paternalistically as "Aunt" or "Uncle." This was also often the case with slaveowners who only owned a few slaves-they, too were often regarded as family. On the larger plantations working 300 or more slaves, the slaves were often regarded as property. But on smaller farms they were sometimes viewed as family. Many of these slaves remained intensely loyal to their masters before, during, and after the war. Many black Southerners actively supported the Confederate war effort, for varying reasons, among them patriotism and loyalty to their owners. Anywhere from 60,000-300,000 blacks served in the Confederate army; many of these men faithfully attended Confederate Veterans' reunions after the war. My own county had six slaves who proudly fought alongside their masters in the Confederate Army. These guys faithfully attended CV reunions. I wrote an article on these local black Confederate veterans which was published in our local historical journal five years ago.

"Uncle" Reuben Patterson (ca. 1843-1928) served as the body servant of his master, Col. Josiah Patterson (ca. 1836-1904) of the Fifth Alabama Cavalry, CSA. Reuben served as body servant, company bugler, company forager and cook, and "horse swapper." Reuben and his master acted more like brothers than master and slave. Col. Patterson allowed Reuben to carry arms.

Below is an example of a Mulatto person. Its a tin-type of "Uncle" Henry Patton (ca. 1847-1901) of Sweetwater Plantation in Florence, Alabama. Henry was the house servant of AL Governor Robert M. Patton. Henry's white ancestry is readily apparent. His children could pass as white. The picture below comes from our local genealogy website and was shared with us by Henry's great-grandaughter Mrs. Rhuea Patton-France, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~allauder/

Pax.


"Uncle" Henry Patton (ca. 1847-1901), slave and house servant of Sweetwater Plantation, near Florence, AL:




Offline marc

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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 05:12:09 PM »
It's always imortant to realize that black slaveowners and black confederates were a very tiny percentage of the whole, and were, by an extreme amount, the exception.

There is nothing even close to a justification for slavery.  Period.

I know you weren't trying to justify slavery, but I think it's very important, given the terrible history of the institution that we don't forget the true nature of the system. I think it is right that when we look at slavery, we see the negative aspects, because even many of the things we call positives were only lighter negatives.  

btw, as to the numbers of blacks in the Confederacy, a couple of questions.  1, wouldn't it have been very late in the war before blacks were allowed to fight in most places, given the Southern attitudes toward black soldiers and the reaction to Cleburne's proposal?  2.  I'm curious as to the source for the numbers, since they seem high in light of the estimate I've seen that there were 900,000 confederate soldiers overall, and no black Confederate soldiers were ever taken prisoner by the North.

I know McPherson and others doubt some of the reports of a large number of black Confederates, though there were obviously some. I think there's overall some objection to classifying those who accompanied the armys as servants--including those who carried arms for their masters, but who did not take part in battles--as soldiers.

Offline janine

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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2006, 05:33:07 PM »
When the bullets are flyin' or when the shoes wear out on a march I don't care much for classifying two guys standing three feet apart during a battle as "soldier" and "oh some slave or servant who just happened to be there working for a solder".

Offline marc

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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2006, 05:33:14 PM »
btw, I'm not trying to be inflammatory, just trying to figure all of this out since your numbers disagree with much of what I've read.  I think toward the end of my post, though, I figured out that you're probably just using a looser definition, than I am.  I noticed that you said "served" not "fought with."  That's probably where the difference lies.

This would also explain why no Confederate prisoners were taken, because slaves who were accompanying the Confederates were, when captured, called "contraband" and given duties in service of the Union.

Sorry about that.  You were saying one thing and I was thinking another.

Offline marc

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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2006, 05:36:12 PM »
Quote
When the bullets are flyin' or when the shoes wear out on a march I don't care much for classifying two guys standing three feet apart during a battle as "soldier" and "oh some slave or servant who just happened to be there working for a solder".
There's quite a difference, though, if the person standing there's sympathies lie with the people doing the shooting.  I'm not sure who it was (Meade or Grant, maybe) that laughed when he heard the proposal of the Confederates giving their slaves guns to fight, and suggested they go ahead and do it and see just who they shoot with them.

Of course the truth is that if they were carrying them for their masters surrounded by an army, many might have wanted to use the guns in another way, but to do so would have been suicide.

Offline James A. Wyly

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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2006, 06:00:24 PM »
Hello Lee,

Nice, interesting history.

Jim Wyly

Offline Nevertheless

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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2006, 08:27:39 PM »
Quote
I know McPherson and others doubt some of the reports of a large number of black Confederates, though there were obviously some.
Pardon my ignorance, but who is this McPherson?

Offline marc

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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2006, 08:30:24 PM »
Sorry. James McPherson, Pulitzer winning Civil War historian.  His Battle Cry of Freedom is as good a single-volume history of the Civil War as is out there (I like Shelby Foote's 3-volume work a little better overall, but they're both very good.)

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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2006, 08:58:58 PM »
Ah, thank you.  McPherson is my mom's side of the family, so it caught my eye.

I found an interesting little tidbit in my family history.  In Louisianna in the late 1870's early 1880's my great great grandmother had an ongoing affair with a black man who worked on their farm.  She had at least two children by him.  The news got around to the local Klan members who showed up at her door one evening.  They put a rope around her neck and threatened to hang her from a cotton gin if she didn't name the father.  She swore up and down that she didn't know what they were talking about, that her baby was a little dark because she had been scared by a black bull when she was pregnant!  Apparently she convinced them.

The interesting part (to me) is the attitude of her husband.  Though it was obvious that they weren't his children, he raised them lovingly, referring to them as "my little Dutch children," and provided for them in his will as if they were his own.

The whole thing was quite the family scandal.